Hueco Tanks was never on our radar. Of course we had heard of this historical place for bouldering, however we are not really boulders so we had never really contemplated visiting there. It's often said those surprise nights out with friends are the best, no one was expecting to be out but you have the best time. Well Hueco falls right into that category.
We stayed at the Mountain Hut campsite which is a mile outside of the national park. It's still pretty basic but it has all you need. More than anything the guy that runs the place is really cool and super friendly. It's worth going back just for him, he's a real character. The campground has a climbing shop with water and showers although we didn't use them so I cannot comment on them. I have to say the toilet situation is pretty gnarly. The other toilets were being refurbished so there was only a porta loo, which is at least a V5 boulder problem in itself.
The bouldering is amazing here, a world class destination for sure and so much fun! It's like a big adventure playground for adults. The boulders grade range is great with loads of fun easier stuff to the extreme harder problems. High balls to low traverses. Most of all the rock formations are wild boulders covered in huge funky hueco jugs! Which leads to some really nice movement. You can pay $5 for a digital guide book or buy a hard copy for more. The North Mountain is open to unguided bouldering and general wandering. However the other areas of the park are protected and require a guide to show you. There are two different tours one for bouldering and one for pictographs and history of the park. Now stupidly I did not ask the price of a bouldering tour (rookie mistake) the petroglyphs tour however is only $2 per person, cheap as chips!
Hueco Tanks has been an important place for many years and this is all due to the hueco tanks themselves. What is a hueco tank I hear you ask? It's a hole formed in the rock that fills with water and holds it. Imagine how important this place is in the Texan desert. The water of hueco of course draws animals there. Pictures around the park show bob cats, skunks and various other cool animals that have been spotted. The water also meant that for years natives settled there, this is evident in over two thousand pictographs that are still being discovered today. There has also been famous battles here between Native Americans and Mexicans.
The pictographs are some of the best we have seen whilst in America and some are really thought provoking in design. Particularly the "Jesus in sun glasses" as we named him. I'm not sure what you think but he's just so modern looking for the time he was drawn which was thousands of years ago. Take a look at the pictures how does someone back then draw the future?
It was great fun searching for these ancient drawings and if we had more time we definitely would have taken a tour around other parts of the park. Climber or not you will love Hueco Tanks it's a special place.
$3 per night for the camping $8 for the crash pad rental $7 for entry to the national park $5 digital guidebook $2 per person for guided tour